Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday asked why French President François Hollande had met with one of the three Kurdish activists murdered Wednesday in Paris, who Erdogan called a member of a “terror organisation”.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sought answers from France on Saturday following the murders of three Kurdish activists this week, demanding an inquiry into their deaths but also asking why French President François Hollande had met with one of the women.
“How can one regularly meet with a person or persons who are a member of an organisation that has been declared a terror organisation by the European Union and are wanted by a warrant?” Erdogan demanded on Saturday.
“What kind of a policy is this?” he asked.
Hollande has said that he and several other politicians knew one of the women professionally, but did not specify which one.
Erdogan also called on France to “immediately shed light [on the crime], immediately find the culprits and leave no question marks” while asking why the women were allowed to find safe haven in France.
Europe’s Kurds rally in Paris
Thousands of Kurds from across Europe descended upon Paris on Saturday, demanding justice for the three activists, who were shot dead at a Kurdish institute in the French capital Wednesday evening.
Crowds of Kurds streamed to Paris from throughout Europe, marching through the neighbourhood where Sakine Cansiz’s body was found inside a Kurdish information centre along with two other activists. Cansiz was a founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has been battling the Turkish government for three decades.
Kurdish activists have accused Turkey of responsibility in the deaths. Turkish officials suggested the killings may be part of an internal feud or an attempt to derail their peace talks with Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the PKK, which is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey and its US and European allies.
The deaths have put France in a difficult position as it tries to improve ties with Turkey. Turkey frequently accuses France and other European nations of not cooperating in its struggle against the rebel group, and notably of failing to extradite wanted militants.
Cansiz received asylum from France in 1998, according to Devris Cimen, head of the Frankfurt-based Kurdish Center for Public Information. At the same time, according to a WikiLeaks cable, she and another PKK member were considered key fundraisers for the rebel group in Europe.
'We are all PKK'
Raising Kurdish flags and giant banners plastered with photos of the three women, the demonstrators in Paris called for justice from France.
“We are all PKK,” the crowd chanted.
Aylin Erten, an 18-year-old high school student, said she came from her hometown of Strasbourg in eastern France to attend.
“I came to the protest today because I feel concerned,” she said. “First of all, as a French citizen I feel concerned because it is a shock for us. As a Kurd I feel concerned because these three women were symbols of our community and this crime didn’t happen in Turkey or another country, it happened in France, in Paris.”
Nazmi Gur, a Kurdish legislator who accompanied Kurdish leaders to Paris from Turkey, said the bodies of the three women were expected in Turkey this week.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)
Date created : 2013-01-12